What is Verbal Ability?

Verbal ability is the cognitive ability to use and understand language. This ability develops largely as a function of both formal and informal educational opportunities and experiences, and is highly dependent on the individual’s exposure to the standard English-speaking environment. An individual’s verbal ability can be assessed using a variety of tests, or subtests within a cognitive test. One common method is to administer the Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI) on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fifth Edition (WISC-V), which is a cognitive test. The VCI measures an individual’s verbal conceptual formation, verbal reasoning, and verbal expression, and is derived from two subtests – Similarities and Vocabulary. On the Similarities subtest, the individual is asked to explain the similarities between two words/concepts. On the Vocabulary subtest, the individual is tasked to verbally define given words.

But why is it important to test one’s verbal ability? This is because language sets an important foundation for literacy. If your child’s grasp of language is weak, he/she will be unable to make sense or communicate his/her understanding of a subject, which thus, affects learning in school. Hence, not only should young children have ample opportunities for speaking and listening, they should also be exposed to printed materials to build up a varied vocabulary, as well as develop an understanding of how to use words correctly. This will, in turn, support your child’s ability to comprehend written text, and to express himself/herself in writing.

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller

By DAS Psychologists